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Maine Register research

Discussion in 'Research and History' started by Benson Gray, Feb 20, 2011.

  1. Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I have discovered another resource in my ongoing search for obscure canoe manufacturing trivia. The G. M. Donham Company of Portland, Maine published a Maine Register every year during the late 1800s and early 1900s which contains a short listing of the manufacturers from each town in the state. The one for 1873-1874 doesn't list a boat or canoe builder in Bangor, Old Town, Veazie, or any of the other likely areas. A Luther Tebbetts is listed as a "wheelwright and boat-builder" in Rangeley but there don't appear to be any other inland boat builders at that time.

    The 1889 one shows E. H Gerrish as the only maker of “Canoes, Boats, and Paddles” in Bangor. He is also described as the “prop. of Sportsman’s Camp at B. Pond, above Katahdin Iron Works.” H. B. Maynard is listed as a builder of “Bateaus” but there were no other boat builders listed in town. The only builders of “Batteaux and Canoes” in Old Town are “G. E Carleton” and “Joseph Ronco” although this last one was probably a typographical error intended to be Ranco. There are lots of other canoe builders listed around the state including: Greenville, Passadumkeag, etc. The Rangeley boat builders had expanded to include S. B. Tufts, F. C Belcher, and C. W. Barrett. The first attached image below shows the information about Veazie. It appears that Albion Morris was a carpenter and Chas. Morris was a carriage maker at that time but Bert Morris isn't mentioned yet.

    The 1897 one has E. H. Gerrish and C. B. Thatcher listed under the “Canoes, Boats, and Paddles” section in Bangor. The Old Town listings include "Batteaux and Canoes" showing Rollins and Buzzell along with S. L. Ingalls as well as a "Canvas Canoes, Paddles, and Poles" section showing Hunt and Stowe along with E. M. White. It appears that Hunt and Snowe was the name of the Indian Agency at that time since they also advertised "Fancy Indian goods of all kinds, including Baskets, Snowshoes, Moccasins, Birch and Canvas Canoes, Bows and Arrows, War Clubs, Mounted Moose Heads, etc. Also Dry goods, Crockery, Groceries and Provisions." (There are still stores like this in Maine which frequently also have a sign saying "If we ain't got it, then you don't need it.") The Rangeley boat builders included S. B. Tufts, C. W. Barrett, and H. W. Loomis. The Veazie listing included "B. N. Morris, canvas canoes."

    I am still trolling eBay but don't want to spend a lot of money. The local libraries and historical groups may also be able to help. Please let me know if you have a Maine Register from another year during the late 1800s or early 1900s that you would be willing to share. Thanks,

    Benson
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  2. Kathryn Klos

    Kathryn Klos squirrel whisperer

    Thanks, Benson. I almost got an early 1890s register but someone else beat me to it. This a great source of information--- nailing-down who was building and when. I'm betting the Morris brothers didn't start selling canoes until 1892.

    Kathy
     
  3. Scott Rowe

    Scott Rowe Random Adventurer

    A couple of these registries are online now. This is an excerpt from the 1884 Maine Registry;

    http://books.google.com/books?id=tg...aI3uuCCQVLcnXnoNeXpg&ci=49,413,877,657&edge=0

    VEAZIE Four miles N of Bangor On the Maine Central Railroad Formerly the seventh ward of Bangor and called North Bangor Incorporated March 26 1853 and named from General Samuel Veazie Area 2,560 acres Population 1860 891 1870 810 1880 622 Valuation 1860 Polls 146 Estates 3139 992 1870 Polls 193 Estates $168,432 1880 Polls 175 Estates $121,439 Postmaster AJ Doe Selectmen AJ Spencer JB Skinner FL Pratt 1 oicu Clerk FL Pratt Treasurer JB Skinner Consttible GB Marden School Commit fee Mark Thompson Vm Thompson John E Rent Physician John Stevens Eel Clergymen LL Hanscom Orono Met ft vacant F Bap vacant Cong vacant Bait Justices Fred L Pratt Dec 16.1881 GB Marden Nov 30 1881 Wesford J Low April 23 1881 Quorum Merchants EK Stuart general stores Lewis H Park GA Sproul groceries AJ Doe confectionery Manufacturers GB Marden JB Skinner JC Brainard AH Giliuan & Low Geo H Robinson coopers Marcellus Merrick boots and shoes NL Marden millwright NH Lufkin Albion Morris carpenters George W Frost Andrew J Harthorn smiths Chas Morris carriages Frank Cushing cantdog stocks lsso tns P ofH Rural No 207 John Towle Master Tuesday K o H Pme Tree No 1326 Saturday OG T Eagle Lake No 243 Hotel Everett House Asa B Waters
     
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    Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    Yes, these have turned out to be quite helpful. I have used an optical character recognition tool on the ones from 1856, 1887, 1891, and 1913 so they can be searched for specific key words. I have found that there were no canoe builders listed in the Maine Register from 1856, three in 1887, six in 1891, and 18 in 1913. Now I just need to get this new information transferred into http://wcha.org/legacypages/maine-list.htm to update the list of Maine canoe builders.

    Benson
     
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    Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    I've recently gotten back to this project and it has produced a few surprises. Gerrish is the first person listed as a canoe builder although his focus appears to have been on fishing tackle in the early years. Albert McClain from Passadumkeag was the second builder listed. He was mainly making snowshoes and I've not been able to determine if his canoes ware made using bark, canvas, or both. It was also surprising to see that several other areas had significant collections of builders including Ashland, the Lincoln area, Greenville, and Kennebunkport.

    Benson
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 8, 2016
  6. 1905Gerrish

    1905Gerrish LOVES Wooden Canoes

    Look at all those unknown names. Keep up the good work B.
     
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    Benson Gray

    Benson Gray Canoe History Enthusiast Staff Member

    An expanded version of this information is attached below in a chart for the more visually oriented. It looks like things started in 1881 with Gerrish and peaked in 1907 with 26 builders. The First World War really thinned out the canoe builders although there was some recovery in the early 1920s. The Great Depression in the 1930s led to a further reduction in the business. My guess is that Second World War caused even more attrition. This sort of research is much more difficult after 1923 since copyright restrictions have limited the ability to scan and distribute newer versions of the Maine Register and other similar published materials.

    Benson
     

    Attached Files:

    Last edited: May 28, 2016

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